Oxford MailWheatley Park's new £2.2m block opens (From Oxford Mail)

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Wheatley Park's new £2.2m block opens

Oxford Mail: Pupils, left to right, Jonathan Bayliss, Justin Finnerty and Billy Clarke with teachers Nick Griffin, Sarah Stickland and Roger Nixon Pupils, left to right, Jonathan Bayliss, Justin Finnerty and Billy Clarke with teachers Nick Griffin, Sarah Stickland and Roger Nixon

A new £2.2m English and media building at Wheatley Park School school has been officially opened.

The eco-friendly facility was unveiled on Friday after more than two years of construction work.

Henley MP John Howell listened to the school’s soul band singing a chorus from the school’s production of Guys and Dolls as part of the opening ceremony.

As dusk fell, a light show designed by former students was projected on to the side of the building.

The new block was funded by Oxfordshire County Council and designed with rainwater tanks for flushing toilets, a special sedum roof to absorb carbon dioxide, and a ground source heating system using geo-thermal energy.

The new block has been equipped with tables, chairs, computers and interactive whiteboards using £13,000 which was raised by the school’s Parent Teacher Association.

Headteacher Kate Curtis said: “It’s helped pupils feel proud of their school, and feel education is taken seriously. “They have been given a really smart and stimulating environment to learn in.”

The two-storey building, which will be used by all the school’s 1,200 students, consists of two media studios rooms with three large projection screens, and eight English classrooms containing hi-tech facilities.

A digital media base, where pupils will be able to borrow equipment, and some small group work rooms for literacy support, have also been built.

The new building replaced six pairs of temporary English classrooms.

Mrs Curtis said: “The most common response from students is that it isn’t like a school – it’s like a hotel, or a shopping centre, or a museum, because of the balcony and the glass and steel and the windows and the way we have decorated it.”

She first approached the county council about replacing the old temporary classrooms shortly after she was appointed in 2005.

Pupil Jonathan Bayliss, 13, of Wheatley, has three classes in the new building a week. He said: “It’s new and quite posh.

“All the toilets are better and the tables and chairs are cleaner and nicer. It makes me feel more like working hard.”

fbardsley@oxfordmail.co.uk

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